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Common Core Testing Update: Field Testing About to Start
posted by: Ruthie | March 21, 2014, 04:26 PM   

This field test is, in fact, the largest trial of a standardized test in US History.  In total, about 4 million students in some 37,000 schools across 36 different states will participate in the field test over the next two weeks.

The purpose of the field testing is
not to gauge student knowledge–that will come later when the tests are finalized.  Since these tests are designed to be taken on computers, concerns have arisen about whether the tests will be compatible with a wide variety of electronic devices.  They are also hoping to test the validity of test questions.

If the field testing goes to plan, the two consortia will flush out minor issues with equipment and questions that can be easily fixed in the next year.  However, there’s also the risk that the field test may instead go very badly for PARCC and Smarter Balanced and will reveal issues that go much deeper into the testing system.

The field test can also be beneficial for schools, as it will give schools a heads up if there are any technological weaknesses that need to be addressed before next year.  Unfortunately, some schools already know that they’re not ready for the computerized test yet.  An article in
Education Week reports one school declining to participate in the field test because of technological weaknesses.

You can find more information about the field tests, along with sample test questions on the
PARCC and Smarter Balanced websites.

 

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